Arbitration
Summary in Divorce

Couples who are deadlocked in settlement negotiations sometimes turn to arbitration, which is a legally binding, but not, a judicial procedure. Since the spouses cannot reach an accord, they agree to hire a private judge who decides the case. He or she decides what they cannot, and he or she settles the issues they cannot; he or she does not grant a divorce.

Unlike mediation, neither party can unilaterally terminate arbitration, and both parties are bound by the decision of the arbitrator.

Arbitration is one of three out of court settlement processes known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Mediation and collaborative law are two other ADR approaches designed to help divorcing couples avoid the emotional damage and financial ruination of a divorce trial.

Arbitration, which is not permitted in some states or provinces, is private, generally faster and less expensive than litigation. It speeds the divorce by eliminating the need for a trial. Arbitration is not cheap, but costs are much less than going to court.

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FastFacts
#64: Beware of hidden assets. It is an ordinary occurrence for the spouse who wants the divorce to begin hiding assets for financial security before asking for the divorce. Often the primary concern for anyone divorcing is financial comfort and most will do anything to secure it, legally or not.
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